The man responsible for the brutal murder of bartender Kitty Genovese has been denied parole for the 18th time, making Winton Moseley one of the longest serving inmates in New York State. Although Moseley, 80, has spent more than a half century in the penitentiary, members of the parole board stated that he” still minimizes the gravity of his behavior and did not exhibit much insight”, during a hearing on November 9th.
The random stabbing of Catherine Susan “Kitty” Genovese near her home in Gardens, Queens on March 13, 1964, and the reported failure of any of her neighbors to come to her aid as she screamed for help, has become indelibly engraved in the psyche of all New Yorkers as one of the most horrific stories of the time. While the common portrayal of her neighbors as being fully aware of what was transpiring but completely unresponsive went on to become a psychological paradigm and an urban legend, it has since been proven to have been proven erroneous. Still, it triggered investigation into the social psychological phenomenon that has become known as the bystander effect or “Genovese syndrome.”
Kitty was the eldest of five children in a lower middle class Italian American family and was raised in Park Slope, Brooklyn. After Rachel witnessed a murder in the city, the family moved to Connecticut in 1954. Genovese, 19 at the time and a recent graduate of Prospect Heights High School in Brooklyn, chose to remain in the city, where she had lived for nine years. At the time of her death, she was working as a bar manager at Ev’s Eleventh Hour Sports Bar on Jamaica Avenue and 193rd Street in Hollis, Queens. She shared her Kew Gardens apartment at 82-70 Austin Street with her romantic partner Mary Ann Zielonko.
According to police, Genovese had driven home from her job and parked in the Long Island Rail Road parking lot about 100 feet from her apartment’s door around 3:15 am. As she walked toward the building, she was approached by Winston Moseley, who then chased her toward the front of her building located at 82-70 Austin Street. He overtook her, and stabbed her twice in the back.
Moseley was arrested, tried, found guilty and sentenced to death on June 15, 1964. That sentence was later reduced to life imprisonment on the grounds that he had not been allowed to argue during the trial that he was “medically insane.” He escaped from jail March 18, 1968, and committed another series of crimes, including holding several people hostage (in separate events) before surrendering to police a few days later. He received 2 additional 15-year sentences for this crime spree. He will be allowed another parole hearing in 2017.